When set at the right temperature, your refrigerator will keep food cold and safe to eat for days or even weeks. Modern refrigerators are usually designed to keep food out of the danger zone (35°C – 60°C) , the temperature range that creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
So what’s the correct temperature for a refrigerator?
According to food safety regulations, the ideal temperature for your refrigerator is between 0 – 4 degree celsius and your freezer should be below -18 degree celsius. Staying within this range will ensure that your refrigerator is cold enough to keep food out of the danger zone but not so cold that it develops ice crystals or frost.
Eating food that has been stored at incorrect temperatures can cause food poisoning and other serious health complications. That’s why it is important to measure the temperature of your refrigerator and ensure that it’s set just right.
How to measure a refrigerator’s temperature?
Refrigerators and freezers today come with all kinds of new features but they may not have an inbuilt thermometer to check the temperature inside. The good news is that appliance thermometers are easy to find online and in most stores that sell kitchen instruments.
Simply place the thermometer in the middle of the area you want to test, such as the top shelf or the meat drawer. For the best accurate reading, close the refrigerator door and wait 30 minutes. Then check the reading and adjust the temperature controls accordingly.
Where to keep what?
A refrigerator comes with many compartments, each offering a different temperature range ideal for different food items. Here’s a guide on where to store what in your refrigerator for optimum freshness.
- Fridge door
This is the warmest section of the refrigerator so it’s best not to keep products here that are prone to getting spoiled.
Ready to serve items like butter, soft cheeses and condiments like ketchup, mustard etc are perfect for the fridge door shelves.
- Top shelf
This part of the fridge is not as warm as the door and is great for keeping dairy products like yogurt, cream and food that is readymade or cooked. Keeping these on the top shelf also minimizes the chance of bacteria that may transfer from raw food.
- Middle shelf
This section is colder than the top one. Air circulation and temperature regulation is better in this area so it’s best to keep leftover food, salads and cooked meat here.
- Bottom shelf
This is the coldest area in your refrigerator and is perfect for storing raw meat, poultry and seafood. Just make sure you seal everything properly so it’s contents don’t leak onto other items.
- Humidity drawer
This compartment is made for storing fresh fruits and vegetables and is slightly warmer so they don’t freeze and stay crisp. Leafy greens like spinach, broccoli, herbs require high moisture content and can be kept here.
Here’s a guide on how to keep your refrigerator cool
Now that you’re familiar with how to monitor the temperature and store food safely in your refrigerator, you need to know how to maintain it. Here are some tips to ensure that your refrigerator is cooling properly.
Keep the doors closed
This is absolutely key to maintaining the right temperature inside your refrigerator. The more you open the door, the harder it is for the fridge to stay cool. Check the door seals regularly for tears and replace them if necessary.
An overcrowded refrigerator will struggle to cool effectively as food items will block the air vents and prevent cold air from circulating. An under stocked fridge on the other hand isn’t ideal either as cold air might flow downwards and freeze food instead.
Refrigerators are a heavy duty appliance and do alot for us, in return they need a little care from time to time. Make sure to clean the refrigerator coils at least once a year to avoid serious wear and tear.
Elanpro is here to solve all your refrigerator problems with our top of the line commercial refrigeration services. Reach out to us for any and all queries and we’ll help you make the right choice for your kitchen.
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